Brace for more change - for the better
Overall ThoughtWorks experts feel companies are just beginning to grasp cloud’s full potential - and in many ways, that’s a great thing.
As cloud technologies develop, the opportunities will multiply. After the coronavirus epidemic has passed, businesses are almost certain to face further upheaval, but cloud will continue to evolve and support the gains in resilience, speed and performance that enterprises need to stay ahead.
Some of the more exciting possibilities will emerge around the expanding frontiers of data - particularly edge computing, the trend of cloud decentralizing and moving closer to data sources to enhance agility and velocity. The massive proliferation of data sources will have consequences for complexity, but will also open new paths for enterprises to build their knowledge of and connections with end-customers.
“The edges of the cloud are going to get a lot less distinct,” Shaw says. “It’s moving into our houses; it’s going to be in our pockets. We’ll see the emergence of a lot more edge devices, as the devices that generate data get more prolific and the quantities of data that we need to gather, store and understand store get bigger and bigger.”
Cloud providers are also hard at work refining higher-level services, whether cloud-based AI or containerization systems like Kubernetes that can vastly simplify the development and management of multiple applications.
“The components that developers can assemble from cloud vendors will get more and more macroscopic, and more and more powerful over time,” says Murray. “You’ll continue to see vendors start to create more verticalized solutions that solve specific business problems.”
The upshot will be massive growth in the technology resources and capabilities companies can access on an on-demand basis, without necessarily needing to know everything about the coding and architecture that underpin these services.
In other words, Morris says, the whole promise of cloud as a versatile, ubiquitous self-service platform will move a lot closer to reality. “If I can write an application, package it, get my configuration, store my data in very standard ways, then I don’t need to go and ask somebody every time I decide to make a new one,” he says. “I know exactly how to do it in a way that’s secure and works correctly.”
This means even as companies grapple with a pandemic, each step to building a cloud strategy now is an investment in future capacity to change and innovate at speed and scale - the ultimate toolkit for an environment that will likely never again be quite ‘business as usual.’ For all the challenges associated with cloud, that makes inaction an even bigger risk.
“Across major industries, everybody is scared now,” says Chawla. “If in your industry there are a lot of companies left to go on the cloud and you're the next one to do it successfully, you’re magnitudes ahead of the organizations that you left behind. It's a massive competitive advantage and it takes just that one courageous C-level executive to pull the plug out and get it done. Make it happen.”